God had just spoken to Moses from a burning bush (yep - that would have gotten MY attention!) and told him that he would lead the children of Israel out of captivity and into the Promised land.
We pick up the story in Exodus 4: Moses objected, "They won't trust me. They won't listen to a word I say. They're going to say, 'God? Appear to him? Hardly!'"
So God said, "What's that in your hand?" "A staff."
Now, there's a lot more to this story, but it's this part that hit me today. Here Moses is, feeling quite overwhelmed by the enormity of what he has been called by God to do, and God asks him a question. What's that in your hand?" God didn't tell him to focus on ALL that he'd have to do, but to look at what he already knew.
There are three things that I think Moses knew.
#1 - Moses knew who he was dealing with. Moses had been raised in the Pharaoh's house and knew that he was a human as anyone else. He might be really powerful, but he wasn't a god. The Pharaoh got sick like anyone else, he went to the bathroom like anyone else, he had good days and bad days (and I'm guessing Moses was hoping he'd catch him on a good day but wasn't counting on it!) Moses had been raised in the palace and knew who he was dealing with and what he was doing there. This wasn't completely unfamiliar territory for him.
#2 - Moses knew what it meant to be a shepherd and hold that staff. It wasn't like the pictures of shepherds we grew up with in Sunday School. He didn't spend his days sitting under a tree playing a harp. Shepherding was a constant job - always making sure the sheep had food and water, rounding up the strays (and since they were pretty dumb animals, they could get themselves into pretty rough spots at times), constantly checking them for bugs that would get into their ears and torment so he'd have to pour oil over their heads, and, of course, always watching for that which would come to steal, kill, or destroy the flock. I'm pretty sure he didn't have a lot of time for harp lessons with all that going on. Moses knew the shepherd's staff represented all those things, but they were things he really had already been trained how to do.
#3 - Moses knew who was in charge of this plan. He had no visions of grandeur. He was just following orders, so it wasn't like it was up to him to make things happen. All God was telling him to do, was what he'd been prepared to do his whole life....and it started by picking up the staff. And he did it. Oh, he was obviously still quite apprehensive about whether he'd be accepted, and he made quite a few mistakes along the way...but he did it anyway. The rest, as they say, is history.
So how about it. What is it that God has allowed in your life that has prepared you for today? What is it that you feel He's calling you to do? I know, personally, I can quickly get overwhelmed....but God simply says - pick up YOUR staff. Not someone else's....YOURS. Do what's in front of you and let God take care of making it happen. All we are called to do is obey.
Gee, come to think of it, a broom handle is sort of like a staff. Time for me to pick it up and obey.
Here's a link to the WHOLE chapter....for those who want to study more!(Exodus 4)